Wednesday, 26 November 2014
Page Forty Eight - Left Hanging (Copcast #163)
The New year is a strange time, for some people it is a celebration of hope while for others it can be a time of hope for better times to come. For a few though, the New year is a reminder of how bad things can be and a time of loneliness and misery. Through all this there are a very small number of people who can be found working the night away, doing everything they can to keep the rest of us safe; these are the police patrols, ambulance crews, hospital staff and firefighters.
One New Year's night will stay in George's memory for all the worst reasons. He was posted with an old team-mate called Jack, a deeply caring individual who wore his heart on his sleeve and George loved working with him for just that reason. Jack would literally do anything for anyone, whether that was an old and trusted friend or a stranger who was in need.
George and Jack responded to countless calls to alcohol related disturbances, fights, injuries and disputes, as did the rest of their team, over the next four hours. By three in the morning they were exhausted, they hadn't had a break and the emergency calls were still rolling in.
"Will this ever slow down?" asked George, not expecting an answer, as yet another call came through. They were tasked to check the welfare of a man who had apparently threatened to kill himself. The man lived locally but had called his family who still lived in the north of England, he was very depressed and he told them he was going to hang himself. His family were obviously distraught and rang their local police who passed the details of the call to George's area, all of which took time.
By the time Jack and George reached the address, it was more than half an hour after the original call was made. The two officers hammered on the door and shouted through the letterbox but there was no answer from within. The lights were on inside but no sign of life. Then Jack noticed a stool lying on its side at the bottom of the stairs and told George. George didn't say a word as he kicked the door in, the lock shot off down the passageway. Sure enough looking up to the top of the stairs, just as they had expected, they saw a pair of feet hanging about twelve inches above the top step.
Staring slack jawed in disappointment for a moment, George began to go through the list of what the detectives in CID would want done, the first would be for the ligature knot to be preserved. Then in unison he and Jack shouted "The hell with it" and ran up the stairs. George lifted the man's weight while Jack slashed at the chord with a pocket knife before easing the man's body to the floor. They could see now that he had lashed a rope to a rafter above the open loft hatch, tied a noose around his neck while standing on the stool then kicked the stool down the stairs.
George tore at the chord around the man's neck where it had sunk into his flesh, while Jack was giving him chest compressions. Suddenly the noose came free and George was able to get a breath into the man before calling for help on his radio. There were no ambulances anywhere, they were on their own.
Now an ambulance in the UK has an extremely distinctive engine sound and at that moment they heard that sound going past outside. Jack looked up at George, then took off down the stairs and out the front door without uttering a word. George went back to artificially resuscitating the body in the house on his own. It felt like he had been alone for hours when suddenly he was joined by an ambulance crew and Jack. The paramedics took over and found the man had a very weak pulse, he was alive and they quickly had him loaded into the ambulance on his way to hospital.
Once they left Jack apologised for leaving George but explained that he had heard the ambulance and decided he was going to stop it, he hadn't had time to explain what he was going to do. He had to chase the ambulance up the road on foot for a good quarter of a mile before they realised he was behind them and stopped. They had then had to wait another minute before he could speak after his mad sprint.
The hospital casualty staff worked hard on the man before transferring him to the Intensive Care Ward, after a couple of weeks the man was physically recovered and released from hospital.